Biden pleased with US election turnout
United States President Joe Biden said he was “incredibly pleased” with the turnout in the US mid-term election as Democrats looked on course to keep control of the Senate next year.
Biden, who made the comments on Sunday in Cambodia ahead of an East Asia Summit, said the turnout was a reflection of the quality of candidates his party was fielding.
His comments came after Senator Catherine Cortez Masto was projected to win re-election in Nevada, narrowly beating Republican challenger Adam Laxalt.
A Democratic victory in a Georgia runoff next month would then give the party outright majority control of a 51-49 Senate, while a Georgia defeat would still keep Democrats in charge of a 50-50 Senate, with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris able to break tie votes.
“We’re focusing now on Georgia. We feel good about where we are. And I know I’m a cockeyed optimist. I understand that.
“Again, I’m not surprised by the turnout. I’m incredibly pleased. And I think it’s a reflection of the quality of our candidates.” Biden told reporters.
Biden had framed the midterm election as a test of U.S. democracy at a time when hundreds of Republican candidates embraced former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
Trump has repeatedly used his appeal among hard-right conservatives to influence candidates nominated by the Republican Party for congressional, gubernatorial and local races.
He has, however, been blamed for boosting candidates who were unable to appeal to a broad enough electorate, resulting in a lackluster performance for the Republicans.
Laxalt, who lost in Nevada, was a former state attorney-general endorsed by Trump.
Biden told reporters the elections showed the Republican Party “is going to have to decide who they are”.